Rugby is their Football

Trip Start Aug 28, 2012
Trip End Jun 06, 2013

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Flag of South Africa  , Eastern Cape,
Monday, December 10, 2012

The International Rugby Board (IRB) Sevens World Series was in town this weekend and boy was it an exciting time! I went all day Saturday from 1 p.m. to 11 p.m. Sevens (7s) Rugby means that the games have 7-minute halves. They are short and sweet. Well actually, not sweet. The small amount of time makes them a lot more intense then a normal Rugby game. Anyway, I went down to the Nelson Mandela Bay Stadium with some friends of mine here. The stadium is only a 5-minute drive from my house, you can actually see the stadium from the end of my road. Its pretty cool when it's all lit up. This is one of the stadiums that was built for the 2010 FIFA World Soccer Cup held in South Africa.

How cool would that have been, to be here when all those games were going on?! Wow.

Anyway! Rugby is huge in South Africa and known to be one of the world's international powerhouse teams. Within the SARU (South African Rugby Union) there are many different teams. South Africa's National Rugby team is called the Springboks. Their mascot is just that, they call him "Bokkie." Each province also has a rugby team. The Eastern Cape team (where I live) are called the EP (Eastern Province) Kings. These teams just play within the country, but their still very good games. Each also has their own mascot.

Everyone at the game was dressed up in themes. There were groups of people dressed up as The Simpsons, a group dressed up as Crayola crayons (interesting because they don't have Crayloa down here), groups dressed up as inmates, and all other sorts! It was pretty cool. My group just wore our South Africa Rugby Jerseys though haha. I really didn't know about this theme thing! 

It was a scorching hot day out. It's an open stadium so after a few games we had to move out of the sun to the shady side. We were burning! The rugby was awesome though. I absolutely LOVED seeing all the different countries playing. I was able to see the United States play Zimbabwe at 17:58, Scotland vs. England, New Zealand vs. Fiji, Kenya vs. Wales, and the best game ever... South Africa versus Australia (Wallabies) for the last game!! South Africa WON!!! Wow, that was such an intense game. There were so many Afrikanners swearing (luckily I couldn't understand them) and some vuvuzelas going off! It was loud. Haha. When they won, it was complete uproar. So glad I got to go see all of the excitement!

During the games, there were beer tents and vendors outside on the lawn. They also had a few stages set up for DJs and bands. Many people were also walking around giving out free items like t-shirts, tank tops, hats, etcetera. It was a very cool vibe at the stadium. We hung outside for a bit, but I was addicted to seeing all the different countries. I wish the U.S. would host more international things like this... not always just U.S. teams playing each other.

After the games were finished we did go watch a few of the South African bands play. There was a rock band and then a very cool band that's on the radio (Algoa FM its called) down here. They are called Goodluck. Definitely check them out on Youtube if you get a chance. Two of their "famous" songs down here are "Hop on Hop Off" and "Stars in My Eyes."

But yes, it was a FANTASTIC SATURDAY!

 A little history on South Africa's Rugby:

Here's just a bit about what I've learned in terms of history of South Africa and it's rugby: Rugby is traditionally known to be the main winter sport for the whites in South Africa while the blacks and coloured people play soccer,"football" here of course. However, since 1994 when Apartheid ended, I have learned that the SARU is working hard to make it a sport for all races in South Africa. South African Rugby was banned by the International Rugby Board in 1981 until Apartheid ended. The Commonwealth had first started this Gleneagles Agreement in 1977 though. It was to discourage countries from playing South Africa due to the racial discrimination and racism occurring in the country during Apartheid. Today, it seems that they the country is slowly coming back. There were quite a few blacks attending the games, even though it is still mostly whites. 

South Africa has a an incredible history... though dark and damaging, I will have to write about that at some point for you.
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